Head-scratching over Citizen Dave's motives in warmly congratulating John Prescott after the deputy premier verbally beat up his fellow tyke and the Tory leader's stand-in, clever clogs William Hague. Regulars nearly fainted when Dave popped into Stranger's for a half. Some did when he slapped Prezza on the back and oozed, "That was very good indeed. It was lovely to watch." The wine sippers reckon Dave's Old Etonian politeness got the better of him, but the beer boys think he was delighted to see Willie taken down a peg or three. Perhaps more intriguing was the pow-wow between Prezza and Big Gordie, the duo slipping on to the terrace for a private chinwag away from prying ears.
Much finger-wagging on the Blairways tour from hell as that frustrated spinner, David "Over The" Hill, assailed the flying press corps about its refusal to swallow the Downing Street line. A mile-high "deep background" briefing by the outgoing premier on the plane to Oz fell flat. The message that he still has much to do was ignored in favour of the mistake about the mistake. Hill's complaints that the papers in Blighty treat Blair less reverentially than Rupert Murdoch's Aussie prints convinced the straying pack they'd done the right thing. All in all, it was judged as successful as Jack "The Lad" Straw's wooing of Condoleezza Rice, ie, a media disaster.
Mystery over a scribbled note ordering tourists to refrain from molesting Winston Churchill. The handwritten "Do Not Touch" plea on the wartime premier's bronze left foot disappeared as unexpectedly as it appeared on the statue in the Members' Lobby. A hole is perceptible in the bright, shiny hue created by MPs and visitors rubbing Winnie's big toe for luck before entering the chamber. Tories accuse Labour MPs of neglecting their hero; Labour accuses Tory MPs of puerile public-school behaviour. Oh, what a lovely class war.
No 10's Ruth Turner, whose grandiose title of director of government relations overstates her authority, decides to issue a grovelling personal apology. Excitable Turner gave both barrels of her pop gun to Chorley's truculent MP, Lindsay Hoyle, in a row over schools. After thinking it over, she rang back to express regret for her forthright comments. Another telling moment in the fall of Downing Street.
The authorities offer to resite the pool table from condemned Annie's to Bellamy's, a sterile airport lounge of a watering hole in 1 Parliament Street. The small room identified boasts a serving hatch to the main bar, but thirsty scribblers remain barred from entering the block by the front door, required instead to use an underground tunnel from the Mock Gothic Fun Palace. None too thrilled at being treated like sewer rats, hacks cry foul.
Kevin Maguire is associate editor (politics) of the Daily Mirror